Twitter Suing Government Agencies to Make Surveillance Requests Public

The logo of the social networking website Twitter displayed on a computer screen in London. (Photo: Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images)
The logo of the social networking website Twitter displayed on a computer screen in London.
(Photo: Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images)

Twitter is suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department because it wants to make public more information about the U.S. government’s surveillance of its users.

The social networking company wants to publish its full “transparency report” of all the government’s requests for user information, it said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

“Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters (“NSLs”) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) court orders received — even if that number is zero,” said Twitter legal counsel Benjamin Lee in a post on its official blog.

The FBI has sought access to user data from technology companies such as Google, Skype and others. The companies say they turn over information when required by court order, but want to make public information about the process.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Mike Snider